February 23, 2017 / 11:53 AM / in 9 months

Crescent Point's loss bigger than expected as production falls

(Reuters) - Canada’s Crescent Point Energy Corp (CPG.TO) reported a bigger-than-expected quarterly loss on Thursday as the company’s production fell about 6 percent.

The oil and gas producer - whose core operations are in southwest Saskatchewan, the Williston Basin and the Uinta Basin in the United States - said total average production in the fourth quarter fell to 165,097 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boe/d) from 176,108 boe/d.

But the company benefited from higher commodity prices as oil prices have recovered from a two-and-half-year slump.

“2016 was a successful year,” Chief Executive Scott Saxberg said in a conference call. “We exceeded our production targets on budget, increased drilling efficiencies and developed new plays.”

Crescent Point’s average selling prices rose to C$49.32 ($37.55) per boe in the three months ended Dec. 31 from C$41.98 a year earlier.

The net loss widened to C$510.6 million, or 94 Canadian cents per share, in the fourth quarter, from C$382.4 million, or 76 Canadian cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding an unrealized loss on derivatives of C$138.7 million and a C$457 million after-tax impairment charge, the loss was 10 Canadian cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S, bigger than estimates of a loss of 6 Canadian cents.

Saxberg said the company is interested in selling some “basic, simple, non-core assets” of a “smaller nature” to pay down debt or to free up funds for capital expenditure.

“It’ll be ... anywhere from C$50 million ($38 million) to C$100 million kind of size,” he said.

Saxberg also said the company has never been approached by an activist investor, addressing a media report last Friday that said one had targeted Crescent Point. The company’s shares rose 8 percent on Friday.

Reporting by Ethan Lou in Calgary, Alberta, and Vishaka George in Bengaluru; editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Phil Berlowitz

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